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Buick Encore

Buick’s new baby crossover.

Crossovers are getting smaller, and the new Buick Encore is one of the smallest of all. More petite than a Chevy Equinox, the Encore is closer in size to a Mini Countryman. Buick designers endeavored to give it Buick styling cues, but they couldn’t disguise the Encore’s tall, stubby proportions. Despite its diminutive footprint, however, the Encore has a reasonable amount of space inside for four people and can haul a fair bit of luggage. The Encore is based on the platform of the Chevy Cruze sedan and uses the same 1.4-liter, direct-injected turbocharged four that’s available in the Cruze. Output is estimated at 140 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque, delivered via a six-speed automatic transmission to either the front or all four wheels. The Encore’s curb weight of 3190 pounds (with front-wheel drive) is within 50 pounds of the Cruze, so performance should be similar. Like many direct-injected fours, this 1.4-liter isn’t exactly mellifluous, but Encore drivers might not notice, because Buick engineers used active noise cancellation in the Encore to mask its droning. This baby Buick boasts some other upscale equipment, including leather, navigation, heated seats, a heated steering wheel, a power driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, front and rear park assist, lane-departure warning, forward-collision alert, and a backup camera.

COMPETITORS

Audi Q3

BMW X1

Hyundai Tucson

Mini Cooper Countryman

new for 2013

The Encore is an all-new entry for 2013. It’s expected to arrive in dealerships in the first quarter of the year.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, side, side curtain, and knee air bags; ABS; a tire-pressure monitor; and stability and traction control are standard. A backup camera, forward-collision alert, and lane-departure warning are available. OnStar includes crash response and emergency assistance, which are part of the safe and sound package.

MPG

N/A

PRO

Maneuverability

Decent cargo space

Available luxury equipment

CON

Rearward visibility

Looks a little odd

Base Price: $30,000

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel, 4-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: Encore, Convenience, Leather,Premium

BODY STYLE: SUV/crossover, 5-passenger

ENGINE: 1.4L turbo I-4, 140 hp, 148 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: N/A

CAPACITIES: Towing N/A; cargo (behind rear/front seats) 18.8/48.4 cu ft

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